By Brittany Davenport
The Nasher Sculpture Center is one of the few museums in the world dedicated solely to the exhibition of sculpture. In an unprecedented move, it has announced the institution of a $100,000 annual award for a contemporary artist developing the art form through his work. The first recipient will be announced in the fall of 2015, after being selected by a jury composed of internationally acclaimed artists, art historians, museum directors and curators knowledgeable in the subject, according to an April 2 press release.
Sculpture as an art form has transformed and moved forward significantly in recent years. Even so, the fascination with more traditional forms remains, and it seems that showcasing sculptural works is not exactly a priority for many art galleries. A Google search for “painting exhibit” brings up a plethora of relevant local gallery shows. A similar search for “sculpture exhibit” returns links to shows around the United States. In other words, sculpture exhibitions are few and far between, and local shows are a rare find. However, the Dallas community is fortunate to have the Nasher Sculpture Center, which focuses solely on sculpture and is widely acclaimed for its exhibits. Its initiative in bringing many types of sculpture into the art world at large has provided a basis for the creation of the award.
Prior to the initiation of this new annual prize, no international prize of this magnitude existed. Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher, commented upon this recently in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.
“[T]his is not in recognition of any specific work,” he said. Rather, the award will be for “a significant body of work.” The goal of creating the award is not only to encourage artists in developing sculpture, but also to bring attention to the art form and to bring more discussion to the table concerning sculpture’s niche in the art world and the evolving understanding of its creation and presentation.